RAMALLAH, March 12 (Xinhua) -- Clashes between dozens of Palestinian worshipers and Israeli police forces erupted on Friday afternoon in the old city of East Jerusalem, witnesses and local sources said.
Clashes between the two sides flamed right after the Israeli police prevented dozens of Palestinian young men from reaching al- Aqsa Mosque for Friday's weekly prayer, according to the witnesses as well as local sources.
"The worshipers prayed in the narrow streets of the old city after they failed to reach al-Aqsa Mosque," said the sources, adding "clashes with the police erupted at the end of the prayer."
The sources said only 2,000 worshipers were able to pray at the mosque following strict security measures carried out by the Israeli police in the old city. The Israeli measures were made to prevent more violence similar to the conflicts in the city last Friday.
Witnesses said young Palestinian worshipers throw stones at the Israeli police forces while the latter fired tear gas canisters and rubber bullets, where several Palestinians were lightly wounded, according to medical sources in the city.
The Israeli security forces on Friday imposed a closure on the West Bank for 48 hours to prevent more violence and clashes between the Israeli security forces and the Palestinians.
Tension between Israel and the Palestinians had recently flared after the Israeli government decided to build 1,600 new housing units in Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem.
The decision outraged a large number of Palestinians and Arabs and threatened the efforts to launch the proximity talks between Palestinians and Israelis.